Another night, and another opponent drives a stake into the Baltimore Orioles' season.
Tonight, Lance Parrish homered twice and drove in four runs, Alan Trammell went four for four, Walt Terrell allowed five hits in 8 2/3 innings and the Detroit Tigers beat the Orioles, 8-3, before 22,122 at Tiger Stadium.
If you're counting -- and the counting is getting harder -- the 38-32 Orioles have lost 12 of their last 17 games to stagger back to seven games behind the first-place Boston Red Sox in the American League East. Boston begins a three-game series at Memorial Stadium Friday night, and a Red Sox sweep could go a long way toward sweeping the Orioles from the race.
"We're one six- or seven-game winning streak from making everything just fine," Orioles Manager Earl Weaver said. "We've just stopped hitting for a while, but it'll come around again."
The Orioles finished a 3-3 trip by getting another shaky performance from Mike Flanagan (1-5), who hasn't won since April 17 and allowed nine hits and four earned runs in 6 1/3 innings.
He wasn't helped by: (a) the Orioles not hitting a homer for the sixth straight game; (b) left fielder Mike Young dropping a fly ball and center fielder John Shelby making a wild throw after catching one, and (c) Rick Dempsey popping up on a 3-0 pitch with a runner in scoring position in the seventh inning.
"Earl gave me the green light," Dempsey said. "I tried to pull an outside pitch and didn't get it. I was just trying to get something going. We need a big hit."
A season after hitting a club-record 214 homers, the Orioles are the only American League team without a 10-homer player. Eddie Murray and Larry Sheets have nine apiece.
"If I could get the two bad pitches to Parrish back, it would be better," Flanagan said. "But that's the way this game is. A couple of hot hitters in the middle of the lineup can make a big difference."
Terrell was in charge almost all the way, although he did walk seven. He was within one out of a complete game when he walked Shelby with the bases loaded to give the Orioles their third run. Tigers Manager Sparky Anderson went for Willie Hernandez, who got the final out for his 14th save.
The Tigers wasted about eight seconds before they got to Flanagan, with Trammell getting a one-out single in the first inning. Flanagan then struck out Kirk Gibson, but Parrish launched a fastball into the upper deck in left field for a 2-0 lead.
"It's about time we beat up on someone," Parrish said. "I wish they were all like that."
The Orioles closed it to 2-1 in the top of the fourth when Murray doubled with one out and scored on Juan Beniquez's single to left.
That 2-1 score lasted only until Parrish got his third at-bat, which was in the fifth, after Trammell had singled and Gibson had grounded into a fielder's choice.
Flanagan threw Parrish a fastball in about the same part of the plate as in the first inning and Parrish did the same thing with it, clanging it off the facing of the upper deck in left for a 4-1 lead.
"If Trammell and Parrish had had the chicken pox, I'd have been in better shape," Flanagan said. "That was five of their nine hits."
The Orioles got within 4-2 in the top of the seventh, but they had some help.
Terrell gave Beniquez a leadoff walk, and Jim Dwyer singled. Weaver sent Sheets up to hit for Juan Bonilla, and Sheets forced Dwyer at second. Weaver then sent in Alan Wiggins, who didn't start, to pinch run for Sheets.
Beniquez scored on a wild pitch by Terrell and Wiggins went to second. But Dempsey popped up on a 3-0 pitch, and Shelby grounded out to second baseman Lou Whitaker.
The Tigers made it 5-2 in the seventh after Young dropped Whitaker's fly ball. Whitaker got as far as second before Young chased down the ball, and Trammell bunted him to third.
Gibson scored Whitaker with a double down the right field line, and reliever Nate Snell came in. He got out of the inning but gave up three runs in the eighth, when the Tigers benefited from errors by Murray and Shelby and Trammell's fourth hit of the game.
The Orioles had some chances to get back in it. In addition to Dempsey's popup in the seventh, Baltimore left the bases loaded in the ninth after scoring one run.
"We've just stopped hitting now and I don't know why," Weaver said. "I keep thinking we're going to start hitting some. I think we will."
Orioles reliever Tippy Martinez, who has a sore shoulder, is expected to be put back on the disabled list Friday and replaced by Fred Lynn on the roster. Martinez was on the disabled list between April 19 and May 29 after suffering from dizzy spells. He was bothered by a sore shoulder much of 1984 and 1985.